Open Arms Moveable Feast
Open Arms of Minnesota had their annual fundraiser last week, Movealbe Feast. This was my third year attending (MOA is a sponsor so I get to take full advantage) and I’m already looking forward to next year. If you’re not familiar with Open Arms of Minnesota, please check them out. They provide meals for people battling life-threatening illnesses, and believe that food is medicine. From their website, “With the help of over 7,300 volunteers, we’ll cook and deliver more than 600,000 delicious meals this year to people living with life-threatening illnesses, as well as their caregivers and dependents.” Getting to meet the people who make all that happen and hear from the staff, volunteers, and those who benefit from the meals they provide is a wonderful experience.
The event itself starts as a fairly traditional fundraiser. You arrive at the event center, the previous two years it was at the Machine Shop, and this year it was at an airplane hanger, Best Jest International . Now this may shock you, but I’m not exactly at the pace in my life where I’m looking to charter a private jet, but if you are, check them out. There’s a live auction, a silent auction, drinks, hors d’oeuvres, and usually a fun game of some kind (this year MOA sponsored a “purse pull”). It’s fun, it’s celebratory, and it’s overall a great event. Then the real fun begins. Your group is put into a limo and driven to one of 33 participating restaurants, where a full tasting menu awaits you.
We were taken to Nolo’s Kitchen and Bar. I love Nolo’s, but I have a complaint right up top, which I know is incredibly rude especially considering that this event supports such a good cause, but bear with me for a second. I am super allergic to shellfish, and for the last two years I’m been served shellfish for our first course. I get it, there are a lot of details to cover, but we do list food allergies when we register and I wish there were more attention given to that. By the time we get to the restaurant it’s usually past 8pm, and I get too hungry for dinner at 8, that’s why the lady is a tramp (sorry, I had to), so when I can’t eat what I’m served I get hangry. Okay, complaining time is over. Nolo served is shrimp tacos (they looked delicious) paired with a Vinho Verde, a duck spring roll paired with a pinot noir, a strawberry and fennel salad paired with a reisling, chicken rigatoni paired with chardonnay, and baby back rips paired with cabernet. I ate (and drank) everything that wouldn’t send me to the hospital, and it was absolutely dynamite. The ribs were spicy which I loved, the duck egg roll was outstanding. I usually try to stick with either red or white wine and not mix them, so after all those delicious tastes I did wake up with a bid of a headache the next day, but it was definitely worth it and I would do it all over again given the chance.
Once your dinner has finished, your limo picks you up from your restaurant, and you are brought back to the original event spot for coffee and desserts. We finished our dinner at 10pm and I live close to the restaurant, so I skipped dessert and went home. I know I know, I’m disappointed with myself too, but it was a work night and damn, I was tired. Next year I’ll take the next day off so that I can take full advantage!
This event is a real achievement, because it’s really like hosting 34 simultaneous events. The fact that they manage to pull this off in addition the over 600,000 meals they prepare and deliver each year is an outstanding achievement. Open Arms of Minnesota is a beautiful organization, and I love that I all of the fun I get to have at this event goes to a great cause. If you’re a foodie looking for a good cause to support, this is the event for you. See you next year!